EVALUATION OF THE ABORIGINAL STRATEGIES AND GOVERNANCE PROGRAM

FINAL REPORT DECEMBER 2013

Evaluation Directorate


Table of Contents

Acronyms


List of acronyms
AANDC Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
AAROM Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management
AB Aggregate Body
AICFI Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative
ADM Assistant Deputy Minister
AFO Aboriginal Fisheries Officer
AFS Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy
APG Aboriginal Programs and Governance Directorate
ASG Aboriginal Strategies and Governance
ATP Allocation Transfer Program
AFSAR Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk
C&P Conservation and Protection
CA Contribution Agreement
CBA Cost-Benefit Analysis
CEA Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
DFO Fisheries and Oceans Canada
DG Director General
EFM Ecosystems and Fisheries Management
FAP Fisheries and Aboriginal Policy [Directorate]
FN First Nation
FSC Food, Social and Ceremonial [purposes]
MRI Marshall Response Initiative
NHQ National Headquarters
NL Newfoundland and Labrador
PICFI Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative
PAA Program Alignment Architecture
PMS Performance Measurement Strategy
RBAF Risk-Based Audit Framework
RDG Regional Director General
RMAF Results-based Management and Accountability Framework
SCC Supreme Court of Canada
SSC Salmon Sub-Committee [Sub-Committee of Fish and Wildlife Management Board (Yukon)]
SG Strategies and Governance
TB Treasury Board
TBS Treasury Board Secretariat

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


INTRODUCTION

Since the early 1990s, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), in delivering its primary Government of Canada responsibility for the management and protection of fisheries and aquatic resources and integrated oceans management, has substantially increased its involvement with Aboriginal people.    
The evaluation examined the extent to which the Aboriginal Strategies and Governance (ASG) program demonstrated value for money by assessing its relevance and performance, including effectiveness, efficiency and economy, in accordance with the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009). This evaluation covered the period of fiscal-year 2008-09 to fiscal year 2012-13 and was undertaken between October 2012 and August 2013. The evaluation covered all DFO Regions including the National Capital Region (NCR), Newfoundland and Labrador, Gulf, Maritimes, Quebec, Central and Arctic, and Pacific.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The ASG program involves the delivery by DFO of contribution programs and strategic and treaty policy guidance, in support of the involvement and benefit of Aboriginal people in the fishery in Canada, where DFO manages the fishery.  ASG serves to build and maintain strong and stable relations with Aboriginal groups and to promote fisheries-related economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities.  ASG is instrumental in maintaining a stable fisheries management regime in many areas of Canada with common and transparent rules for all.

The ASG contributes to the ‘Strong Economic Growth’ Government of Canada Outcome area.  The Program supports two of DFO’s Strategic Outcomes, namely 1) Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries and 2) Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems.  Strategic Outcomes are integral to the Department’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA), which is part of the Government of Canada’s Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS), the foundation of a government-wide approach aimed at strengthening the management and accountability of public expenditures and clearly demonstrating results for Canadians.  Moreover, ASG involves effective, risk-based transfer payment programs that ensure accountability and value for money, and fisheries policy development, both responsive to Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The ASG is comprised of three Sub-programs and the Contribution Program for the Salmon Sub-Committee:

  • Strategies and Governance (SG) – primarily an operational policy function;
  • Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) and Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) – an Aboriginal fisheries management and contribution program;
  • Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management (AAROM) – contribution program; and
  • Salmon Sub-Committee (SSC) – contribution program.

The Strategies and Governance (SG) provides policy advice and direction on Aboriginal fishing issues, negotiations and the implementation of fisheries related matters in treaties and advice and support for the Government of Canada on land claims and self-government agreements.  It also provides policy advice / direction on the management of contribution programs.

Introduced in June 1992, the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) provides a framework, i.e., terms and conditions, for the provision of access to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes (FSC), consistent with the 1990 Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Sparrow.  It is implemented through communal fishing licences and contribution agreements.  AFS has enabled the establishment of practical relationships between DFO and Aboriginal groups that provides a mechanism for the stable and orderly management of fisheries for the benefit of all Canadians, while managing the fisheries in a manner consistent with Sparrow and subsequent Court decisions.

The AAROM Program was introduced in October 2004.  The objective of AAROM is to: enhance the ability of Aboriginal groups, working together; to participate in the advisory and decision-making processes related to the management of aquatic resources and oceans spaces.
Two DFO directorates manage and implement the ASG Program along with Pacific Region (Yukon Office in particular) that manages the SSC.  The Aboriginal Programs and Governance (APG) Directorate, under the Ecosystem Fisheries and Management (EFM) Sector, oversees the AFS and AAROM sub-programs, and the Fisheries and Aboriginal Policy (FAP) Directorate, under the Program Policy Sector, oversees the Strategies and Governance (SG) Sub-Program, which includes strategic and treaty policy guidance.

EVALUATION METHODOLOGIES

Multiple lines of evidence:  The evaluation employed multiple lines of evidence which included document review, interviews (n=39), and focus groups (n=8 with 34 participants in total) and case studies (n=6).  The evidence drawn from these methods was triangulated to arrive at our findings and conclusions.

Non-experimental design:  A non-experimental design was used for this evaluation, in which measurements are taken after the program has been implemented with no control group. This model was chosen because the program is delivered across Canada, in particular on the coasts and there is no possibility to create a statistical control or experimental group for evaluation purposes.

EVALUATION ISSUES

The evaluation examined the core issues set out in the Treasury Board 2009 Policy on Evaluation.1

Relevance

Issue 1:  Continued need for the program

Issue 2:  Alignment with Government Priorities

Issue 3:  Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

Performance

Issue 4:  Achievement of Expected Outcomes

Direct Outcomes that were examined include:  Aboriginal engagement; Aboriginal FSC capacity; Effective policy guidance; and, Aboriginal access to commercial fishery.

Intermediate outcomes that were examined include: Aboriginal participation; Well managed FSC fishery; and, Adherence to policy priorities, requirements and initiatives.

Ultimate outcomes that were examined include:  Involvement of Aboriginal groups in management of fisheries resources; positive contribution to modern treaty and claims negotiations or arrangements; and, Benefits to Aboriginal groups and communities from fisheries opportunities.

Issue 5:  Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy.

The evaluation examined the extent to which the program and sub-programs demonstrated that they operate in an efficient manner and in a manner which delivers value to stakeholders and Canadians.

OVERVIEW OF EVALUATION FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

RELEVANCE:

ASG and all its components, including AFS, AAROM, SG, and the SSC contribution program, continue to be relevant and needed. The ASG program is relevant to the need in support of Aboriginal involvement in fisheries and oceans management, including, for example, supporting the management of their FSC fisheries, participation in DFO’s decision making processes (e.g., Integrated Fisheries Management Planning), scientific research (e.g., stock assessment), habitat protection and marine use planning. The fishery and its associated activities can provide opportunity for economic development in Aboriginal communities, including supporting scientific and technical capacity in communities and commercial fisheries access; and therefore, ASG is relevant as it contributes to improving the overall economic well-being of Aboriginal communities. ASG is fundamental in supporting strong and stable relationships with Aboriginal groups on fisheries and oceans issues and greater operational stability and predictability for all fisheries interests.
 
The ASG program is also well aligned with federal roles and responsibilities and with government priorities. The management of fisheries and ocean issues are matters of significant interest to many First Nations. Through its programs and policies, DFO continues to manage the fisheries in a manner that is consistent with the constitutional protection provided to Aboriginal and treaty rights by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Fisheries Act. While Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) have the overall lead in the negotiation of modern treaties, DFO has the lead role for fisheries issues (and the fishery chapter) in claims and treaty negotiations. The ASG program continues to be relevant for treaty negotiations.

Specifically relating to government priorities, the ASG program aligns with the 2013 Throne Speech which states that the government will continue dialogue on the treaty relationship and comprehensive land claims and will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal peoples to create healthy, prosperous, self-sufficient communities. In addition, ASG contributes to the key outcomes of the Crown-First Nations Gathering (2012) that emphasized improving relationships and strong partnerships between Canada and First Nations and that treaty negotiations should advance the principles of certainty, expeditious resolution of claims, and greater self-sufficiency for Aboriginal peoples.

The program continues to be needed in order to:

  • Build greater capacity – research/technical and stakeholder engagement;
  • Maintain strong and stable relations with Aboriginal groups;
  • Support broader discussions and collaboration in the management of fisheries resources;
  • Develop greater social and economic capacity and independence;
  • Advise on treaty agreements; and
  • Introduce greater innovation in the management of fisheries resources.

PERFORMANCE: 

The ASG program has improved involvement of Aboriginal Groups in the management of fisheries.  Due to the support from AFS or AAROM, capacity of Aboriginal Groups has evolved, and the Aboriginal Groups have structures, officials, and technical expertise in order to participate and build a relationship with DFO.  A number of Aboriginal groups have developed and are developing the capacity to manage their Food, Social and Ceremonial (FSC) fisheries. Due to the AAROM program in particular, Aboriginal groups are developing the capacity to participate in the collaborative management of aquatic and ocean resources at the watershed or ecosystem level.  Evidence illustrates the benefits of consultations at the watershed or ecosystem level, including being able to build capacity, expertise and understanding of the science, and DFO being able to consult in an efficient manner with representatives of a relatively large number of Aboriginal groups.

Based on the documents reviewed, interviews conducted, and case studies completed for this evaluation, there was only a minimal level of capacity in the early 1990s. The review of the AFS2 conducted in 2002 and 2003, found that there had been some improvement in capacity over the first decade of the program, but that review noted that there was room for continued improvement.

With regard to the performance of the operational policy function, there are in place frameworks, guidelines and templates that are in use by DFO staff.  However, it was noted that there are gaps and some policy direction is dated – particularly in relation to FSC issues and allocations. Most Aboriginal interviewees noted that the FSC allocation was negotiated many years ago, and is in need of review to account for population growth in the community over the years.  DFO also requires additional, ongoing operational policy work in order to ensure a consistent national approach that is aligned with Court decisions.  It was noted that DFO’s policy work has high potential value but given limited DFO resources and policy capacity, DFO has not been able to deliver updated policies and tools in a timely manner.

The evaluation found that operational policy work was required to update the Policy on the Management of Aboriginal Fishing; guidelines and tools to support treaty negotiations; treaty mandates; treaty-like arrangements; and a number of Aboriginal fishing policies, including licensing policies, operational guidelines for the management of Aboriginal Fishing, policies dealing with adjacency issues, policies regarding FSC, policies related to monitoring and reporting, policies regarding integrated FSC and commercial fisheries, and Aboriginal involvement in fisheries management. Compared to the potential workload, there is a relatively low level of resources devoted to this work and these results in a relatively slow pace of progress in providing needed advice and ensuring up-to-date policies, frameworks, guidelines and advice to meet the demanding expectations of DFO officers in regions and AANDC negotiators.  In turn, this is important since it has the potential to impact on the ongoing relationship between DFO officials with Aboriginal Groups.

In summary, the ASG program has contributed to:

  • A stronger relationship with Aboriginal groups and improved Aboriginal engagement;
  • Increased Aboriginal capacity to manage their FSC fishery and to participate in fisheries management issues;
  • Improved capacity of Aboriginal groups to participate in the collaborative management of aquatic and ocean resources at the watershed or ecosystem level;
  • The development of policies, frameworks and guidelines which must be kept-up-to date on a continuous basis (in particular to reflect Court decisions);
  • Aboriginal groups’ ability to gain access to commercial fishing licenses and quota, and the benefits that have been derived from this access;
  • Improved participation by Aboriginal groups in activities, decision-making, information sharing, structures and processes aimed at the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries, aquatic and oceans resources;
  • The effective and efficient management of FSC fisheries; and
  • Satisfactory adherence to DFO policy priorities, requirements and initiatives.

The program and subprograms under evaluation had a performance measurement strategy; however, there was limited performance measurement data collected. The Departmental Performance Report (DPR) contains performance indicators, but these are not sufficient to address outcomes at the individual sub-program level.  Consequently, this evaluation has used qualitative information since there is only limited quantitative information available. 

Recommendation 1.  The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should review the Performance Measurement Strategy for the ASG Program and its three sub-programs and enhance the ongoing performance data collection to support evaluation of outcomes encapsulated in the program logic model.
Having outcome data available specific to ASG and its subprograms would be useful for future evaluations and performance reports, and be of use to demonstrate the value of this program and sub- programs. In addition, ongoing performance measurement data could also be used for continuous program improvement.

Recommendation 2.  The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should accelerate its planned operational policy work. 
Many of the Aboriginal fishing policies, frameworks and guidelines that are in place are dated. The SG operational policy unit has identified gaps and has a plan to address these gaps, but implementation of the plan has been very slow due to resource constraints and shifting priorities.  Policy work which is not completed in a timely manner creates a significant risk that DFO may not deliver a consistent, national approach to Aboriginal fisheries issues that is consistent with Court decisions.

EFFICIENCY / ECONOMY:

Based on the interviews, resources appear to be managed in an appropriate manner, demonstrating adequate stewardship practices.  Interviewees also noted that plans, reports, and financial claims are studied and any issues are reviewed with the recipients and confirmed.  From the perspective of the recipients, the process can be slow and payments are often delayed.  Interviews suggested that potential reasons for some of the reported delays could include a number of factors in addition to due diligence, such as lack of DFO resources, need for training for both DFO staff and recipients, need for updated operational policies or processing tools, unsatisfactory reporting from recipients, or unsatisfactory work plans from recipients.

The contribution proposal, negotiations and reporting processes for these contributions programs are working; however, most recipients made suggestions to improve the efficiency of these processes from their perspective including a simplified contribution proposal process and more timely approval of both proposals and reports.  Some recipients found the financial and performance reporting requirements of Contribution Agreements complex. The Evaluators noted that  these requirements merit examination by DFO to determine where these could be simplified or streamlined, and still meet the requirements of the programs’ terms and conditions, the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments and the Financial Administration Act.

Among those who have multi-year funding, there is a high level of satisfaction with this approach.  A few of the FNs consulted encouraged DFO to continue to use multi-year funding as it allows for longer-term planning and is more efficient.

ASG resources are limited and have not been increased in many years. Interview consultations and case study reviews indicate that funding under the original AFS and AAROM agreements has not changed/increased since the program’s inception (1992 for AFS and 2004 for AAROM).  Interviews revealed that since the program has operated with limited resources, there have been significant pressures to use the available resources with efficiency and economy and to allocate limited resources to the highest priority issues.  Within DFO, operating with economy in mind has meant that some useful initiatives to update operational policies or guidelines, training or procedures have been postponed due to a lack of resources.

The evaluation concludes that the program is operating with due regard to efficiency and economy.  Issues noted in the evaluation include: 

  • Satisfaction with multi-year funding arrangements;
  • Reported delays between proposal and report submission and actual approval and receipt of funding; and
  • An opportunity for DFO to develop needed updates to policy guidelines and frameworks for operational fisheries matters.

Recommendation 3.  The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should review the application and reporting process to reduce any unnecessary complexity or misunderstanding among aboriginal applicants.

Almost all Aboriginal interviewees expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of the proposal, negotiations or reporting processes.  DFO should identify the most common sources of error and/or irritant, and revise the forms and instructions to ensure they are clear and straightforward.  Making available more training for Aboriginal groups who prepare proposals or complete reports, may reduce the level of dissatisfaction expressed by Aboriginal interviewees with regard to the time it takes to review and approve proposals and reports.

1. INTRODUCTION


1.1 CONTEXT

The Aboriginal Strategies and Governance program (ASG) is a Program Activity in the DFO Program Alignment Architecture (PAA). This evaluation examined the ASG program, its three Sub-programs and the Contribution Program for the Salmon Sub-Committee:

  • Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management (AAROM) – contribution program;
  • Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) – a contribution program and framework for the management of fishing by Aboriginal groups for food, social and ceremonial purposes;
  • Strategies and Governance (SG) – primarily a policy function; and
  • Salmon Sub-Committee (SSC) – a contribution program.

The evaluation of ASG is guided by the 2009 TB Policy on Evaluation and the Standard on Evaluation for the Government of Canada.  As identified by the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation, all direct program spending must be evaluated every five years. The evaluation of the ASG Program was identified in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) 2012-13 multi-year departmental evaluation plan and focuses on the core issues in assessing value for money as defined by the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009). These core issues include: relevance (demonstrable continued need, alignment with government priorities, and alignment with federal roles and responsibilities) and performance (effectiveness, efficiency and economy).

1.2 EVALUATION SCOPE


The objective of this evaluation is to determine program relevance and performance i.e. the extent to which the program is managed effectively and efficiently and whether it has achieved its stated objectives and results.

This evaluation covered the period of fiscal-year 2008-09 to fiscal year 2012-13 and was undertaken between October 2012 and August 2013. The evaluation covered all DFO Regions including the National Capital Region (NCR), Newfoundland and Labrador, Gulf, Maritimes, Quebec, Central and Arctic, and Pacific.

Three related DFO contribution programs were scoped out of this evaluation.  The Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk (AFSAR) Program authorities were subject to an evaluation led by EC’s Evaluation Branch in 2010-11, TheEvaluation of The Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.3 As well, the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (AICFI) and the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI) are time bound contribution Programs that were scheduled to end in FY 2012-13. Evaluations for these initiatives were completed in 2009-10. As a result, these three Sub-programs are not included as part of this evaluation.


1 Please see Annex B, for additional detail regarding the evaluation issues and evaluation questions considered in this evaluation study.

2 Strengthening Our Relationship: The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy and Beyond. DFO. October 2003. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/aboriginal-autochtones/afs/afsoct03-eng.htm

3 Evaluation report is available on the EC website at http://ec.gc.ca/doc/ae-ve/2009-2010/966/toc_eng.htm

2.0 PROGRAM PROFILE


2.1 PROGRAM DESCRIPTION


2.1.1 Overview: Program Background & Objectives

Since the early 1990s, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), in delivering its primary Government of Canada responsibility for the management and protection of fisheries and aquatic resources and integrated oceans management, has substantially increased its involvement with Aboriginal groups.4 Over this time, the Government of Canada has pursued initiatives to advance the negotiation of modern treaties with Aboriginal groups.  The Courts have rendered decisions on cases relevant to Aboriginal and Treaty fishing rights.

The ASG involves the delivery by DFO of contribution programs, and strategic and treaty policy guidance, both in support of the involvement and benefit of Aboriginal people in the fishery in Canada, where DFO manages the fishery.  ASG serves to build and maintain strong and stable relations with Aboriginal groups and to promote fisheries-related economic opportunities for Aboriginal groups.  ASG aims to maintain a stable fisheries management regime in many areas of Canada with common and transparent rules for all.

The ASG contributes to the ‘Strong Economic Growth’ Government of Canada Outcome area.  The Program supports two of DFO’s Strategic Outcomes, namely 1) Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries and 2) Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems.  Strategic Outcomes are integral to the Department’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA), which is part of the Government of Canada’s Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS), the foundation of a government-wide approach aimed at strengthening the management and accountability of public expenditures and clearly demonstrating results for Canadians.  Moreover, ASG includes, risk-based transfer payment programs that aim to ensure accountability and value for money, and fisheries policy development, both of which aim to be responsive to Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The ASG is comprised of three sub-programs and the Contribution Program for the Salmon Sub-Committee:

  • Strategies and Governance (SG) – primarily an operational policy function;
  • Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) – a contribution program and framework for the management of fishing by Aboriginal groups for food, social and ceremonial purposes;
  • Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management (AAROM) – a contribution program; and
  • Salmon Sub-Committee (SSC) – a contribution program.

Two DFO directorates manage and implement the ASG Program.  The Aboriginal Programs and Governance (APG) Directorate, under the Ecosystem Fisheries and Management (EFM) Sector, oversees the AFS and AAROM sub-programs, and the Fisheries and Aboriginal Policy (FAP) Directorate, under the Program Policy Sector, oversees the Strategies and Governance (SG) Sub-Program, which includes strategic and treaty policy guidance.

A brief description follows of each of the ASG sub-programs examined in this evaluation study.


4 A Commission of Inquiry reported on 'The Uncertain Future of Fraser River Sockeye' in October 2012 and made recommendations to improve the future sustainability of the fishery. The Cohen Commission noted the Minister of DFO's ultimate decision-making authority and the importance of the Aboriginal fishery in this regard. Recommendation #1 of the Commission Report states: "In relation to Fraser River sockeye, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans should follow the principle that the Minister is the ultimate authority in decisions about conservation, fisheries management (subject to the Pacific Salmon Treaty), and, within areas of federal jurisdiction, fish habitat. DFO should consistently reflect this principle in all its agreements and processes with First Nations and stakeholders".
Cohen Commission Final Report, Volume 3.

2.2 KEY PROGRAM ACTIVITIES


2.2.1  Strategies and Governance (Sub-Program)

This sub-program provides policy advice and direction on Aboriginal fishing issues, negotiations and the implementation of Treaties and advice and support for the Government of Canada on land claims and self-government agreements.  It also provides policy advice / direction on the management of contribution Programs.

Additionally Fisheries and Aboriginal Policy (FAP) provides strategic guidance to the Department in:  the ongoing management of Aboriginal and Treaty rights issues; renewal of Aboriginal programs and policies; allocation policies; treaty negotiation mandates; frameworks for the implementation of treaties; and, fisheries related consultation and engagement. 

Strategies and Governance, primarily delivered by FAP, seeks to provide a favourable environment for the conclusion and implementation of treaty and treaty-related agreements with Aboriginal groups where fisheries are involved.  This requires strong liaison with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and Central Agencies to ensure the development of a coherent approach to issues inside and outside Treaty through Aboriginal policies and programs, including the negotiation of Treaty-like agreements and Treaty-related measures.  More specifically, FAP provides:

  • effective policy advice on Aboriginal issues and support for AANDC on land claims and self-government, through mandate development with regard to matters within the mandate of DFO (e.g., the identification of aquatic resource allocation and habitat protection provisions, oceans); and
  • advice respecting the negotiation and implementation of fisheries obligations in modern treaties.

FAP also provides expert advice, as required from time to time, to the development of policy work or presentations at international meetings, where there may be significant Aboriginal or Treaty dimensions.

2.2.2  Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (Sub-Program)

Introduced in June 1992, the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) provides a framework, for the provision of access to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes (FSC), consistent with the 1990 Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Sparrow.  It is implemented through communal licences and contribution agreements.  AFS has enabled the establishment of practical relationships between DFO and Aboriginal groups that provides a mechanism for the stable and orderly management of fisheries for the benefit of all Canadians, while addressing Government fisheries-related fiduciary responsibilities for Aboriginal people.

The AFS objectives are to:

  • facilitate DFO’s management of the fisheries in a manner consistent with Sparrow;
  • provide Aboriginal groups with an opportunity to participate in the management of the fisheries;
  • assist Aboriginal groups to improve their skills and capacity to participate in the management of the fisheries in which they participate;
  • contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of Aboriginal communities through fisheries-related activities;
  • test innovative fisheries-related economic opportunities; and
  • provide a foundation for the development of treaties and self-government agreements.

In 1994, DFO introduced a commercial access component to the AFS, the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP).  The ATP facilitates the voluntary retirement of commercial fishing licences and the issuance of communal licences to eligible Aboriginal groups in a manner that does not add to the existing pressure on the resource base.

AFS agreements need to reflect scientific, research-based advice and recommendations on the status of fishery resources, monitoring and information management and permit Aboriginal groups to carry out a range of management roles, including:  the preparation of their fishing plans; administration, monitoring and enforcement of licences and agreements and reporting of fisheries catches; and, education and awareness activities with their membership and other stakeholders.

Fisheries agreements negotiated under the AFS can contain:

  • provisions with respect to amounts that may be fished for food, social and ceremonial purposes;
  • terms and conditions that will be included in the communal fishing licence (e.g. species, amount that may be fished, area, gear, times, reporting requirements);
  • arrangements for co-operative management by the Aboriginal group and DFO of fishing by the group for food, social and ceremonial purposes;
  • co-operative management projects for the improvement of the management of fisheries in general, such as stock assessment, fish enhancement and habitat management; and
  • provisions related to communal licences under the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) for obtaining access to commercial fisheries and/or other economic development opportunities.

Agreements may also provide funding for consultations with Aboriginal groups and other stakeholders in whole or in part.

Where agreements pertaining to the FSC fisheries cannot be concluded between DFO and an Aboriginal group, DFO will issue to the group a communal fishing licence that establishes the terms and conditions of its FSC fishery.

2.2.3 Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management Program (Sub-Program)

The Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) program was introduced in 2004 to enable Aboriginal groups to build capacity to manage their aquatic resource-related activities and participate more effectively in DFO and multi-stakeholder processes used for aquatic resources and oceans management.

The main objectives of the AAROM program are to:

  • Improve administrative governance structures and scientific / technical expertise around the use and management of aquatic resources and oceans management;
  • Encourage the establishment of, or enhance, existing collaborative management structures that contribute to integrated ecosystem / watershed management and planning processes;
  • Improve the federal-Aboriginal relationship through improved information sharing among Aboriginal communities, DFO and other stakeholders; and
  • Facilitate sound decision making in advisory and other processes related to a number of areas of DFO responsibility.

The program is available to Aboriginal groups that have come together in aggregate bodies at a watershed or ecosystem level where DFO manages the fishery, and that have not signed a comprehensive land claims agreement that addresses the matters under the AAROM program.

AAROM employs a community-driven approach recognizing that different groups are at different stages of capacity development and do not have the same priorities and goals.

AAROM is comprised of three main components: 

  1. Capacity Building
  2. Collaborative Management, including Aboriginal Fishery Officers (AFOs);
  3. Economic Opportunities.

1) Capacity Building
This component provides funds to those groups that do not yet qualify for collaborative management and related opportunities but are committed to working towards doing so.  Examples of activities funded under this component include: facilitating dialogue among multiple communities interested in forming aggregations along watershed/ecosystem lines; implementation of sound business practices and reporting procedures; administrative, financial and legal preparations for the establishment of an aggregate body.

2) Collaborative Management
The Collaborative Management component is the primary component of the AAROM.  Collaborative Management supports the creation and development of AAROM structures or AAROM bodies.  Funding is provided to qualifying Aboriginal groups to put in place the capacity and skilled personnel (biologists, technicians, fisheries managers, etc.) required to successfully manage their activities around the use and management of aquatic resource and oceans spaces and to participate effectively in DFO advisory and decision-making processes (and in those of other government departments as appropriate).  In addition, these administrative bodies may be eligible for funding under the AAROM Program for the development and hiring of Aboriginal Fisheries Officers (AFOs) as well as possible Economic Opportunities (access and aquaculture) programming.

3) Economic Opportunities
The Economic Opportunities component is comprised of two main elements: 1) the voluntary retirement of commercial licences and transfer of commercial opportunities (including vessels and gear) to eligible Aboriginal groups, and 2) the provision of funding to enable groups to pursue aquaculture-related activities.

2.2.4 Contribution Program for the Salmon Sub-Committee

This Contribution Program, which is obligatory under the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA), covers 100% of the ongoing costs of the Salmon Sub-Committee (SSC).  The UFA between the Government of Canada, the Council for Yukon Indians and the Government of the Yukon was signed on May 29, 1993. It has been integrated into individual agreements with specific Yukon First Nations (FN). 

Chapter 16 of the UFA recognizes the SSC as a sub-committee of the Yukon Fish & Wildlife Board, established as the main instrument of salmon management in the Yukon.5

The SSC contribution program aligns with the DFO strategic outcome “Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries” as well as the strategic outcome “Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems" as concerns salmon issues in the Yukon.  SSC falls under DFO's Aboriginal Strategies and Governance (ASG) Program Activity and under DFO's Strategies and Governance Program Sub-activity. As a public advisory body, the mandate of the SSC is to make recommendations to the Minister of DFO and to Yukon First Nations on all matters related to salmon allocations, salmon management, and salmon habitats in the Yukon, including legislation, research, policies and programs. 

2.2.5 Previous Evaluation Studies

An evaluation of the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategies was completed in fiscal year 2006-076. It addressed the relevance, success and cost-effectiveness of AFS. The evaluation found that AFS was relevant in assisting DFO to manage fisheries in a manner consistent with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Sparrow and subsequent decisions. Further AFS was relevant to government and government-wide priorities by demonstrating the building of stronger relationships and improving the quality of life of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, and facilitates the participation of Aboriginal peoples in modern fishing and aquatic resource management. Overall, it is clear that the AFS program is realizing success in many, if not all of the program’s objectives, and on a broader scale is making every effort to provide for the effective management of the Aboriginal fishery in a manner consistent with the 1990 Sparrow decision. 

The program would be in a better position to more clearly demonstrate this success if the Results-Based Management Accountability Framework (RMAF) had been fully implemented. The evaluation also found that there was a lack of clear roles and responsibilities and staff training; that there was an absence of national and regional guidelines and updated procedures to deliver the program; and that there was a lack of an integrated approach with other DFO sectors to deliver the AFS program.

Four recommendations were presented and implemented. The recommendations addressed issues pertaining to the review and improvement of the existing RMAF; development of guidelines for the administration of the Guardian activity; production of a program manual that includes program guidelines, desktop procedures and best practices; and that DFO and Aboriginal groups activities undertaken are reflected in agreements as well as reporting requirements are clearly stated in the agreements.

An evaluation of the AAROM program was completed on April 9, 20097. The evaluation examined the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and economy of AAROM. It found that AAROM is relevant to DFO’s 2009 strategic objectives of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture and Healthy and Productive Aquatic Ecosystems; and ensuring Aboriginal participation in fisheries and oceans matters.  The continuation of AAROM supports Aboriginal Groups in gaining the capacity and expertise needed to participate effectively in the various advisory and decision-making processes used for aquatic resource and oceans management. The evaluation also found that the majority of the agreements focused on the following:

  • enhancing core scientific, technical and administrative capacity of the Aboriginal groups allowing them to obtain competencies that were expected to enable them to strengthen their ability to participate in aquatic management and oceans resources decision-making;
  • increased collaboration amongst Aboriginal groups and to strengthen the relationship between Aboriginal groups and DFO; and
  • Aboriginal groups ability to share knowledge and information with their member communities and were able to more actively participate in meetings with DFO and other organizations.

However, the performance measurement strategy has not been fully implemented. Lastly, regarding economy, the evaluation found that the design of the program helped ensure that funds were used in an effective and economical way.

Seven recommendations for improvement were presented and implemented. They addressed governance issues such as revising the governance framework, clarify roles and responsibilities and establish service standards; reporting should be results-focused, less cumbersome and time consuming; and the AAROM performance measurement strategy should have established targets and mechanisms for obtaining feedback from aggregate bodies.

The Salmon Sub-Committee evaluation report was completed on March 18, 20108. The evaluation examined the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and economy of the SSC. It found with respect to relevance that DFO is obligated by the UFA to provide technical and administrative support to the Sub-Committee as required determining appropriate plans for Salmon management.  Considering efficiency, the evaluators said that lack of a clearly defined DFO role as to providing technical and administrative support makes it difficult to assess whether funding through a DFO Contribution is the most appropriate funding mechanism.  As for effectiveness, the evaluation noted that the SSC could be an efficient and effective way for DFO to obtain input and gauge the pulse of a cross-section of stakeholders quickly as well as communicate the department’s visions, objectives and challenges. With regard to economy, the evaluation noted that DFO’s contribution to the SSC for the period evaluated may not have been used in the most economical manner.

Four recommendations were presented and implemented. The recommendations addressed issues of governance (e.g. Terms and Conditions of the transfer payment be aligned with the obligations and responsibilities outlined in the UFA); clarify responsibilities relative to DFO providing technical and administrative support and Executive Secretary duties to the SSC; arrange for the Centre for Values, Integrity and Conflict Resolution to review the role of DFO as Executive Secretary in terms of a conflict of interest; and the development and implementation of a performance measurement strategy.


5 http://yssc.ca/; Chapter 16, page 170, Umbrella Final Agreement. http://www.eco.gov.yk.ca/pdf/umbrellafinalagreement.pdf
6 Source: RPP 2013-14

7 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/ae-ve/evaluations/09-10/6b103-eng.htm

8 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/ae-ve/evaluations/09-10/6b125-eng.htm

2.2.6 Description of Additional DFO Aboriginal Contribution Programs

In addition to the three Sub-programs noted above, there are three complementary contribution Programs of defined term and scope that are intended to complement the objectives of AFS and AAROM.  These ASG initiatives are:

  • Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (AICFI);
  • Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI); and
  • Aboriginal Funds for Species at Risk (AFSAR) Program.

The APG Directorate oversees all of these contribution Programs that apply where DFO manages the fishery and where land claims agreements have not already put in place a fisheries management framework. 

DFO’s integrated Aboriginal programming supports healthy and prosperous Aboriginal communities through building and supporting strong stable relationships, working in a way that upholds the honour of the Crown, and facilitating Aboriginal participation in fisheries and aquaculture and associated economic opportunities and in the management of aquatic resources.

FAP also provides direct support on a range of policy issues for APG contribution Programs.

2.2.7  Integrated Aboriginal Contribution Management Framework (IACMF)

The Contribution Programs of the ASG are delivered within DFO’s Integrated Aboriginal Contribution Management Framework (IACMF).  [Cabinet Confidence]. The implementation of this framework, in accordance to the recommendation from the 2006 Blue Ribbon Panel that government departments and agencies should “identify opportunities for improved service, increased efficiency, and sharing of best practices with other departments.”  In addition, the 2008 Treasury Board (TB) Directive on Transfer Payments stipulates that “departments pursue harmonization of transfer payment programs that have similar objectives or which serve the same recipients and standardize the administration of these programs”.   IACMF brings all DFO contribution programs for Aboriginal organizations under common Terms and Conditions and integrates several of the management and administrative frameworks, templates and processes associated with the DFO Aboriginal contribution programs. 

The overall perceived benefit of this approach is the further integration of DFO Aboriginal Contribution programs through the IACMF to enable DFO and Aboriginal Groups to concentrate on the delivery of program services rather than on the administration of them, while at the same time maintaining appropriate levels of financial control and accountability.  Some of the benefits are relevant to performance measurement and evaluation such as: 

  • Harmonize the approaches to Results-based Management / Performance Measurement Strategies by focussing on the commonalities of outcome themes amongst the six DFO Aboriginal Contribution Programs.
  • Streamline Performance Reporting – Integration would streamline and facilitate performance reporting for DFO and Aboriginal communities.
  • Facilitate Program Evaluation – Integration would facilitate the departmental evaluation process by clarifying the attribution of the various Aboriginal Contribution Programs to common outcome/results themes.

2.3 OVERVIEW OF PROGRAM RESOURCES


Program resources have been relatively constant over the period under examination.  The highest annual budget during this period was 2010-2011, at $63.6 million**. The lowest annual budget was in 2011-2012, at $53.0 million.  In general, actual expenditures each year have been slightly less than the annual budgets that were set.

A total of $282.5** million was budgeted over the five-year period from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2013.   Actual expenditure over this 5-year period was $275.7 million**.

In 2010-11, as a result of a Strategic Review decision, the Allocation Transfer Program (part of AFS) budget was reduced by $5 million per year.

**   Excluding the yearlong extensions during 2012-13 for the AICFI and PICFI initiatives, $11M and $22M respectively.

Table 1: ASG financial budget vs. expenditures for FY 2008-09 to FY 2012-13

ASG financial budget vs. expenditures for FY 2008-09 to FY 2012-13
$000s 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Budget Expenditures Budget Expenditures Budget Expenditures
             
S&G $13,573.10 $11,368.16 $13,289.71 $12,298.56 $13,844.39 $13,087.62
O&M* $6,281.61 $4,633.50 $5,627.91 $4,585.73 $5,364.57 $4,519.69
Salary* $7,291.49 $6,734.66 $7,661.80 $7,712.83 $8,479.82 $8,567.93
             
AFS
Contributions
$29,897.92 $29,838.10 $32,352.18 $32,114.43 $36,710.46 $35,314.47
             
AAROM
Contributions
$14,340.80 $14,368.19 $12,930.49 $12,929.27 $13,059.68 $13,059.68
             
Total $57,811.82 $55,574.45 $58,572.38 $57,342.26 $63,614.53 $61,461.77
budget vs. expenditures continued
$000s 2011-12 2012-13***
Budget Expenditures Budget Expenditures
         
S&G $13,260.87 $12,036.36 $16,544.47 $16,708.06
O&M* $5,125.11 $4,473.06 $5,841.32 $5,978.77
Salary* $8,135.76 $7,563.30 $10,703.15 $10,729.29
         
AFS
Contributions
$26,913.51 $26,911.78 $48,364.41 $48,322.85
         
AAROM
Contributions
$12,832.76 $12,812.76 $17,541.31 $17,578.90
         
Total $53,007.14 $51,760.90 $82,450.19*** $82,609.81***

Source:DFO Official Financial System Data

Notes:

*  Consolidated O&M and Salary for Aboriginal A-Base and G&C programming
***  Normal AFS and AAROM budgets for 2012-13 amounts are supplemented due to the yearlong extensions for the AICFI and PICFI initiatives, $11M and $22M respectively.

2.4 LOGIC MODEL


logic model

2.5 OVERVIEW OF KEY STAKEHOLDERS AND CLIENTS


STAKEHOLDERS AND CLIENTS

The ASG and its sub-components serve a range of stakeholders:

Aboriginal groups and communities, and in particular, fishers and coastal communities
Aboriginal groups are an important part of the fishing sector. DFO is among those federal departments having a large, on-the-ground presence in coastal Aboriginal communities. DFO continues to seek to strengthen relationships with Aboriginal groups in order to facilitate the negotiation and implementation of modern treaties and broader federal and Aboriginal group objectives.

Commercial fisheries
Commercial fishers are the primary clients of the Commercial Fisheries Program. Resource Management staff work with approximately 52,800 registered commercial fish harvesters in the Atlantic and the Pacific. Occasionally, vessels from other nations fish in Canadian waters and are licensed and monitored by DFO.

Recreational fisheries
The primary clients of the Recreational Fisheries Program are the approximately one in ten Canadians (about 3.2 million) who participate in recreational fishing, tourists who come to Canada for sport and recreational fishing, and the industry sector that provides recreational fishing services (e.g., charters, lodges).

Yukon First Nations
Yukon First Nations are stakeholders under the SSC, created under the Umbrella Final Agreement.  Commercial and recreational fishers and the general public, as noted above, are stakeholders of SSC.

Canadian Public
Canada's fishery resources are a vital and valuable common property resource that is managed for the benefit of all in Canada. Many Canadians have an interest in fisheries, including fish harvesters and anglers, aquaculturists, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Aboriginal groups, community-based organizations, non-government organizations, the eco-tourism sector, universities and other institutions.

2.6 PROGRAM PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT


The existence of a solid performance measurement strategy (PMS) is fundamental to assuring program accountability. Treasury Board Secretariat requires federal departments and agencies to have in place such strategies consistent with the Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (2009) as a condition for new funding or program renewal. DFO is well advanced in developing a PMS for the ASG program suite. This was shared during the evaluation planning stage and served as input to developing the evaluation logic model shown in Section 2.3.

At the start of the evaluation FAP and APG were working to modify the IACMF logic model through a revised PMS to reflect the roles and responsibilities of the new sub-activity Strategies and Governance under the new PAA element, Aboriginal Strategies and Governance. The modified logic model would allow the individual programs within ASG to tell their performance story.  During the planning phase this process was expedited by carrying out consultations with numerous program staff at all levels and from all regions to establish a logic model that satisfies evaluations needs as well as for an improved performance measurement strategy.

The program and sub-programs under evaluation had limited and/or inconsistent performance measurement data during the period of time relevant to the evaluation. The programs had a performance measurement strategy; however, the evaluators did not find all the expected quantitative data as noted in the performance measurement strategy.  Based on the documents review, it is clear that the department does a good job at administering and recording the actual contribution agreements that it has in place, and has a set of basic statistics and data sets on fishing in Canada that is maintained and used.  The department’s statistical publications report on key statistics of interest to stakeholders9, but do not break out specifically the Aboriginal fishery.

Although the Departmental Performance Report (DPR for 2011-1210) contains indicators, these are not always sufficient to address outcomes at the program level. This suggests that program management would benefit from the inclusion of more relevant performance measures and data sources in its performance measurement strategy. That would enhance program reporting and accountability and support more quantitative analysis in future evaluations.

Relevant performance indicators and the systematic collection of data to ensure measurement will support good planning, good management and performance review.


9 For example, Canada’s Fisheries Fast Facts 2011.  http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/stats/facts-Info-11-eng.htm.

10 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/2011-12/so1/so-rs-1.3.3-eng.html.

3.0  Methodology


3.1 EVALUATION APPROACH AND DESIGN


Multiple lines of evidence:
The evaluation employed multiple lines of evidence (document review, interviews, focus groups and case studies) and the evidence drawn from these methods was triangulated to arrive at our findings and conclusions.

Non-experimental design:
A non-experimental design was used for this evaluation, in which measures are taken after the program has been implemented with no control group. This model was chosen because the program is intended to be delivered across Canada, in particular on the coasts.

3.2 KEY ISSUES AND EVALUATION QUESTIONS


Summary of Evaluation Core Issues
Table 1.0: Summary of Evaluation Core Issues
RELEVANCE

Issue #1:  Continued Need for Program

Assessment of the extent to which the program and its sub-programs continue to address a demonstrable need and are responsive to the needs of Canadians.

Issue #2:  Alignment with Government Priorities

Assessment of the linkages between program objectives and (i) federal government and (ii) departmental strategic outcomes.

Issue #3:  Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

Assessment of the role and responsibilities for the federal government in delivering the program.

PERFORMANCE

Issue #4:  Achievement of Expected Outcomes

Assessment of progress toward expected outcomes (including immediate, intermediate, and ultimate outcomes).

Issue #5:  Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy

Assessment of resource utilization in relation to the production of outputs and progress toward expected outcomes.

3.3 DATA SOURCES


3.3.1 Document Review

The document review informed the evaluation’s understanding of the Program including the original and continued relevance of/need for the Program; alignment with government priorities; responsiveness to the needs of Canadians and the economy and efficiency of the Program.

Results from the document review helped to inform the selection of the sample for the key informants for the interviews component of this evaluation as well as informing the formulation of questions /questionnaires to support these consultations.  The document review consisted of three components:

  1. broader government oversight (administrative);
  2. program-specific; and
  3. sub-project level documents.

3.3.2 Key Informant Interviews and Focus Groups

The key informant interviews informed such evaluation issues as: responsiveness to the needs of Aboriginal groups; Aboriginal communities; and Canadians; effectiveness in achieving outputs and outcomes (such as enhanced collaboration and capacity, and increased availability of evidence-informed practice information); as well as examining resource use and economy and efficiency.

Key informant interviews (n= 39) and focus groups (n=8 with 34 participants) were completed with 73 officials from four stakeholder groups:

Table 1: Interviews Completed by Category of Respondent

Interviews Completed by Category of Respondent
Stakeholder Group Interviews Focus Groups Total
Number Number of Participants
DFO Officials 9 6 24 33
Officials from Other Federal Government Departments 6 0 0 6
Officials from Provincial and Territorial Governments 4 0 0 4
Officials from Aboriginal Groups 20 2 10 30
Total 39 8 34 73

In-person interviews took place in NHQ, Pacific, and Maritime regions and others were conducted by telephone.  Interviewees were selected with a purpose to provide a good cross section of interviewees and views on the ASG program.

Summary of responses from the various officials presented in this report was prepared using the following guideline:

summary of responses
Summary of Responses:
“No interviewees”:0 percent
“A few interviewees”:less than 25 percent
“Some interviewees”:25 to 44 percent
“Approximately half of interviewees”:45 to 55 percent
“A majority of interviewees”:56 to 75 percent
“Most interviewees”:76 percent to 94 percent
“Almost all interviewees”:95 percent to 99 percent
“All interviewees”:100 percent

3.3.3 Case Studies

The evaluation included six case studies as follows:

  1. Contribution Program for the Salmon Sub-Committee (SSC)
  2. Eskasoni First Nation (AFS)
  3. Gitanyow Fisheries Authority (AFS)
  4. Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) (AAROM)
  5. First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia (AAROM)
  6. Operational Policy Component of the ASG Program

A limited number of case studies were selected to give a balanced overview of the sub-programs.  The budget available permitted the evaluators to select an AFS and an AAROM case from each of the West and East coast fisheries.  The SSC case study was included to meet the requirements of the Financial Administration Act for this contribution program.  The case study of the operational policy component of the ASG program was selected in view of the importance of the policy work, and to provide a more in depth qualitative assessment of the part of the ASG program that is not delivered via grants and contributions.  The AFS and AAROM case studies were chosen to provide a better understanding of the way these programs operate on both coasts where the programs are most prevalent and areas where the programs have been in place for a long duration representing both large and small communities.

For each of the six case studies, a combination of document review, interviews, and focus groups were conducted.  Documents included materials/reports made available by DFO or from public websites.  Interviews were conducted, either face-to-face or by telephone with a sample of officials from DFO, other federal government departments (in particular, AANDC), Provincial and Territorial governments, and officials from Aboriginal groups.

3.4 METHODOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS, CHALLENGES AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES


A number of limitations were identified and addressed as follows:

  • This evaluation has used qualitative information since there is only limited quantitative information available. 
  • The specific contribution of the ASG program is difficult to distinguish from the progress and results made over time by the full set of DFO initiatives aimed at building capacity, understanding, and the relationship with Aboriginal groups.  A key evaluation question regarding this program is whether it has contributed to building a relationship with Aboriginal groups over time.  Before the programs were created, there was only a very limited relationship in place, and very limited capacity and understanding between DFO and Aboriginal groups.  The program is one of a number of initiatives that have been put into place over the years since the early 1990’s.  It is the combination of programing from these measures and the program that have aimed to build an improved relationship and capacity.  The capacity was built over a period of decades.  By using the documents review, interviews and case study, the evaluators attempted to distinguish the specific capacity that was built over the last five years, from the efforts that were started over the last three decades.
  • Most of the evidence that was used for this evaluation is based on face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, and visits to Maritimes Region and Pacific Region as well as visits to Aboriginal communities.  The evaluators spoke with officials in the communities and at the DFO National and Regional Headquarters who were available at the time of the visits.  It is possible that some key individuals may not have been available at the time of the visits, and as such, their views are not presented in this report.  Some Aboriginal officials were difficult to contact since they may have been travelling, fishing, or had limited access to email at the time the invitations were sent or telephone contact was attempted.  Some interviewees from other departments or organizations decided not to participate in the evaluation, once they determined that an adequate number of representatives of that department or organization had already been interviewed.
  • In the invitation to potential interviewees and in the interview guide, interviewees were assured of confidentiality and that the results would be presented in the aggregate.  The issues covered in these interviews are complex, sensitive, and subject to Court challenges.  Some issues may be the subject of ongoing or stalled treaty negotiations.  For these reasons, some interviewees or potential interviewees may have been reluctant to participate in an interview or to state their views even with this undertaking.   In addition, interviewees may have been selective regarding the key points they made during the interviews, in order to convey a specific opinion or point of view.  When using key informant data in evaluations the evaluators recognized that each key informant does have a potential bias in their perspectives.  In this regard, wherever possible, the evaluators have triangulated the data sources and noted where responses were consistent or where responses may have differed with regard to different groups of key informants.
  • Six case studies were conducted, including document review, interviews, focus groups and in five cases, site visits.  The Aboriginal entities studied in these case studies were purposefully selected and known by the program, and by the evaluators, who have a broad general knowledge of Aboriginal issues and communities, to be examples where the programs were expected to be effective.  These programs are aimed at coastal communities, where fishing is important to the community and the culture.  Therefore, cases were selected with coastal communities and organizations.  These case studies show how well the program and sub- programs can operate, and may not be representative of the entire population of Aboriginal groups. 

4. MAJOR FINDINGS


4.1 RELEVANCE

4.1.1 Continued need for the program

The evaluation considered the extent to which the program and its sub-programs continue to address a demonstrable need and are responsive to the needs of Canadians.  Evaluators noted the continued high level of litigation and publication of decisions by the Courts regarding Aboriginal and Treaty rights.  Evaluators noted in documents, interviews and case studies, the high level of expectations of Aboriginal leaders and groups that they can continue to build capacity to participate in the management of fisheries issues.  Our key evaluation finding in regard to a continued need for the program is that based on the evidence collected, ASG and all its components, including AFS, AAROM, SG, and the SSC contribution program, continue to be relevant and needed.

Fisheries Management

Considering the need to improve involvement of Aboriginal groups in the management of fisheries, the evaluation found a continued need for ASG and its subcomponents.  Based on all the interviews that were conducted with Aboriginal leaders, DFO officials, officials of AANDC; and based on the documents that were reviewed outlining the continued need for improvements in fisheries management since the early 1990’s; and based on the case studies that were conducted for this evaluation study, including case studies in Aboriginal communities that had been addressing issues related to fisheries management; as well as AAROM support for Aboriginal groups at the watershed level on both coasts of Canada, the evaluation has confirmed that the ASG program, and its sub-components, are relevant to the need to improve involvement of Aboriginal groups in the management of fisheries.

All methodologies provided evidence that there are a significant number of Aboriginal groups which wish to become more involved in the management of fisheries issues.  While the evidence shows that progress has been made, the evidence showed in addition that there is a large unmet need for additional capacity development.

The documentation review found evidence that AFS has met only part of the potential need and has started to provide a number of Aboriginal groups with the opportunity to begin to play a meaningful role in the management of the fisheries.   As needs have grown, DFO has used the AFS and AAROM to meet the desire of Aboriginal groups to develop capacity to participate effectively over the long term in areas related to fisheries management.

Evidence from the interview and focus group consultations found that all of those consulted, including Aboriginal representatives, reported that the programs are relevant and required to continue to increase their opportunities for fisheries management.  Aboriginal interviewees suggested that Aboriginal groups could become more involved over time in fisheries management as they build greater capacity.  According to interviews, there has been significant progress since 1992 when AFS was first introduced, and there is a hope that this progress will continue.  Almost all interviews noted that the program and sub-programs were limited by the available budget.  The Guardians program11 was named in a few interviews as a very positive component of AFS that has room to expand, subject to the resources that are available to expand the use of guardians.  Some interviewees noted the increased involvement in assessment of fish habitat or water quality.  Case studies provide tangible examples of the continued need for the ASG program and its sub-components and other areas that participating communities could further focus their efforts under AFS and AAROM.

Economic Benefits

ASG is relevant to improving economic well-being in Aboriginal communities.  There is evidence from all the evaluation methodologies that the ASG program has improved participating groups’ capacity and has supported potential fisheries opportunities for Aboriginal groups which has contributed to self-sufficiency and economic well-being in Aboriginal communities.

A few interviewees identified potential fisheries opportunities which could contribute to economic well-being in Aboriginal communities.  There are several examples of established operations that have been assisted by ASG support that were identified in interviews. Case studies further underlined the potential economic benefits from fisheries for communities, for example, in terms of increased income and more jobs including the Eskasoni Fish and Wildlife Commission.

A few interviewees noted the benefits to their community from the licences and quota they received through the ATP component of ASG; others also received licences outside the ATP such as through the Marshall Response Initiative.12 The increased fishing activity that is authorized by the licences and quota means additional incomes and jobs for these communities.

A few interviewees noted the high potential value of commercial opportunities, and cited benefits from other DFO contribution programs (PICFI & AICFI) aimed at commercial opportunities.

Many of the FN representatives who have been under the programs for a number of years and have advanced their capacity/capability to manage their FSC and commercial fisheries, report that there is continued room for the programs to evolve to allow for greater innovation and capacity development at a higher level.

Policy Support

DFO is pursuing policy work to prepare tools needed to support a positive ongoing relationship and a consistent national approach that meets the requirements of Court decisions which have been published over the years since 1990.  Regional staff indicate a need for policy tools that help determine requests for changes to existing FSC allotments.  It is recognized that operational policy work is required in a wide range of areas.  For example, some of the areas where attention is required include:  renewal of the Policy on the Management of Aboriginal Fishing; treaty negotiations guidelines and tools; issues related to treaty-like arrangements; licensing policies and operational guidelines for the management of Aboriginal fishing.

Improved Stakeholder Relations

The majority of those consulted agreed that the programs have not only improved relations between the federal government and participating Aboriginal groups, but they are also helping to build more positive and respectful relations with other key stakeholders (including commercial and recreational fishery participants),  interested in the management of fisheries – particularly under the AAROM program.

The AAROM case studies provided evidence that this program has helped to build relationships among key stakeholders interested in the management of fisheries at a watershed level.  It was noted that the participation of Aboriginal groups in these discussions is increasing their credibility as well as stakeholders understanding and respect for the need to integrate traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge.  While the documentation may be considered somewhat dated, the documentation review found evidence that the Joint Management and Technical Committees have provided a helpful forum for DFO and Aboriginal groups to work together and with other stakeholders. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Strengthening Our Relationship - The Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy and Beyond, October 2003).13 Interviews and case studies confirmed that these committees and meetings to discuss fisheries issues were still contributing to building relationships between Aboriginal groups and DFO.

Although treaty negotiations have not progressed as quickly as hoped, there are Aboriginal groups that continue to wish to negotiate modern treaties.  Interviews with AANDC negotiators confirmed that ASG is relevant for future negotiations.  There is a continued need for the ASG program to support treaty negotiations.

All lines of evidence confirm that the ASG program, its sub-components, and the SSC contribution program continue to be relevant and needed to support treaty negotiations with FN living in coastal communities. Interviews did confirm that this is a significant issue for negotiations with FN located at or near the Pacific or Atlantic coasts or where there is an inland fishery.

Many of those consulted indicated that negotiations have not made much progress on fisheries issues over the past decade.  The documentation review and the interviews found evidence that the negotiation of fisheries issues were put on hold pending the results of the Cohen Commission.  The lead department for all negotiations of modern treaties is AANDC.  DFO has the lead for fisheries issues, and the fisheries chapters of these agreements.  Some FN have been pursuing their case before the Courts rather than negotiation.  AANDC is undertaking a review to identify which negotiation tables should receive priority for the limited negotiation resources that are available.

Given that the ASG program and sub-programs help to build stronger and more positive relations between DFO and participating Aboriginal groups, they are viewed as also providing a bridge to treaties.  The negotiation of treaties could take decades.  Having the ASG program in place allows for a relationship to be built and maintained.

The operational policy unit provides advice and support to treaty negotiators.  Because of the role played by fisheries in the history and culture of coastal Aboriginal groups, and because of the potential for economic development from fisheries opportunities, the fishery chapter is expected to be a very important part of future treaties with coastal communities.

Some interviewees indicated that the FSC allocation, negotiated as part of an AFS agreement, provides a baseline for the FSC issue in treaty negotiations.   Our interviews were conducted only with Aborginal groups which were participating in the program so we have no direct evidence regarding why some Aboriginal groups may be resistant to participate in the program.  We did receive some comments from a few interviewees that there are a few FN which do not participate in the AFS program since they may wish to pursue these issues in the Courts or during treaty or claims negotiations.


11 The Guardians Program is a component of AFS that funds the salaries and activities of Aboriginal Guardians. The Guardians Program was started in 1992. The Aboriginal Fisheries Guardian Patrol Program is designed to monitor the Aboriginal fishery, record the catch, and ensure compliance with the communal licence. The guardians may be involved in monitoring the landing stations and patrolling rivers for illegal activities. For more details refer to the Cohen Commission report, Volume 3.

12 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/aboriginal-autochtones/marshall/index-eng.htm.

13 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/aboriginal-autochtones/afs/afsoct03-eng.htm.

4.1.2 Alignment with Government Priorities

The ASG program and sub-components, and the SSC contribution program are well aligned with the federal government’s stated priorities and the strategic outcomes of DFO.  The DFO Report on Plans and Priorities 2013-14 states:  “within the context of existing and potential Aboriginal rights, the Department facilitates the participation of First Nations in economic opportunities associated with the fisheries and aquaculture industries, through enhanced access, negotiations, and capacity building, respecting the food, social and ceremonial fisheries requirements.”14  Further the 2013, Throne Speech states that the government will continue dialogue on the treaty relationship and comprehensive land claims and will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal peoples to create healthy, prosperous, self-sufficient communities. In addition, ASG contributes to the key outcomes of the Crown-First Nations Gathering (2012) that emphasized improving relationships and strong partnerships between Canada and First Nations and that treaty negotiations should advance the principles of certainty, expeditious resolution of claims, and greater self-sufficiency for aboriginal peoples. Also, the Speech from the Throne, in June 2011, stated:  “Canada’s Aboriginal peoples are central to Canada’s history, and our Government has made it a priority to renew and deepen our relationship. The contribution of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples will be important to our future prosperity. Concerted action is needed to address the barriers to social and economic participation that many Aboriginal Canadians face.”15  In Budget 2013, the federal government, to show that Aboriginal fishing remained a federal priority, renewed AICFI and PICFI for one year to assist First Nations to engage productively in commercial fisheries on both Coasts.16

All methodologies used in this evaluation study confirmed alignment between ASG program and the federal government’s priorities.

The goals of the program are also well aligned with the DFO strategic outcomes:”Economically Prosperous Maritime Sectors and Fisheries” as well as the strategic outcome “Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems".

4.1.3 Alignment with federal roles and responsibilities

The ASG program, its subcomponents and the SSC contribution program are aligned with federal roles and responsibilities as set out in the Constitution, legislation and the Yukon UFA. Documents, interviewees and the case studies noted full alignment between ASG’s directions and priorities and federal roles and responsibilities under Section 35 of the Constitution Act (1867), (1982); the DFO legislation and regulations; and the Yukon UFA.  All Aboriginal representatives consulted agreed that no other level of government could offer these types of programs given federal jurisdiction over Indians17 and over fisheries.


14 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/rpp/2013-14/SO1/so-rs-1-eng.html.

15 http://www.speech.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=1390

16 http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1363964630328/1363964850834

17  Canada has constitutional authority both for fisheries (Constitution Act, 1867 [Sea Coast and Inland Fisheries]) and for Indians (section 91(24) [Indians and Lands Reserved for the Indians]).  The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of aboriginal people of Canada are recognized and affirmed in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

4.2 PERFORMANCE (ACHIEVEMENT OF OUTCOMES)


FORMAL GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES

All lines of evidence confirmed examples of Aboriginal groups engaged in a formal relationship involving governance and management structures. Most interviewees confirmed that due to the support from AFS or AAROM, capacity had improved, and the Aboriginal group has structures, officials, and technical expertise in order to participate and build a relationship with DFO.

Case studies of such groups funded through the program in the Maritimes and the Pacific regions demonstrated the high level of potential benefits from these formal relationships including the transfer of these more formal governance structures to other areas of the Aboriginal Communities’ operations.

The case studies conducted for this evaluation confirmed that management and governance structures had been established at the community level, and that these structures were working well and delivering important benefits.  One community noted that they had created a Captain Committee, made up of senior Captains of the FN’s lobster and crab fisheries.  Another example of governance committee was the establishment of a Community Fisheries Committee, representing all aspects of the FN community, including Elders, youth, and women.  This Committee included representatives from each reserve in the region.  In addition, AAROM support allowed the community to have experts on standby, to be called upon when needed.  Interviewees found that this support and capacity was most beneficial from time to time.  Other committees and governance structures which were noted during interviews included active Aboriginal participation in coastal zoning bodies, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the sub-coastal park committee, and the Large Ocean Management Area committee.  On the West Coast, the cases noted that the AAROM support allowed greater Aboriginal participation on a number of important governance and fisheries management communities, including the Haida Fisheries Committee, the Haida Marine Working Group, participation in the First Nation Fisheries Council (B.C.), participation in the B.C. North Coast Committee, participation in a DFO-Haida management board, and support for Aboriginal participation in B.C.’s Marine Planning Partnership.  AAROM support was noted during interviews to permit Aboriginal participation on Upper Columbia Aquatic Management Partnership with DFO, and a working group with DFO and BC (using support from AFS) to participate in meetings and initiatives led by the Tenaha Fish and Wildlife management committee.

REACH

The ASG programs have a broad reach and are well-known to potential Aboriginal participants. The data collections for this evaluation did not identify a number of inactive or non-engaged Aboriginal groups that could benefit from such a formal relationship.  The interviews confirmed that the programs are well-known and that the reach of the program is broad and effective.  A few interviewees noted that there are some Aboriginal groups that have decided not to accept support from ASG contribution programs for political reasons (e.g., fear that it will impact future treaty negotiations with the federal government), or because of ongoing litigation or comprehensive claims negotiations.

ABORIGINAL FSC CAPACITY

A significant number of Aboriginal groups are developing the capacity to manage their FSC fisheries.

Case studies and interviews provided evidence and examples of significant progress by Aboriginal groups to develop the capacity to manage their FSC fisheries; in particular, that there were no formal management structures in place for FSC fisheries in Aboriginal communities prior to AFS.

Interviewees confirmed that FSC fisheries are relatively well-managed due to the improved capacity delivered through ASG programs – particularly (although not solely) through the Guardian program.  Interviewees noted that the Guardian program provides a welcome enforcement presence within their community.  The presence of the Guardian within the community serves as an effective deterrent and thereby encourages respect by fishers for the rules that are set by the community.  The key issue raised by most interviewees was the lack of fish (due to changes in the environment over time), or the growth in the community population and the resulting growth in requirements for FSC fish – compared with the allocation or available FSC harvest.

CAPACITY TO PARTICIPATE AT THE WATERSHED OR ECOSYSTEM LEVEL

All lines of evidence confirmed that Aboriginal groups are developing the capacity to participate in the collaborative management of aquatic and ocean resources at the watershed or ecosystem level.

Neither documents, program databases nor interviewees provided a specific number of Aboriginal groups who have developed this capacity as a result of the program; however, all interviewees from Aboriginal groups were able to provide examples of how the programs (particularly AAROM) have built their capacity to manage fisheries (including, for example conducting consultations and studying issues) at a watershed level.

AAROM recipients spoke of the high value of collaboration at the watershed or ecosystem level.  Examples were discussed of valuable research conducted, expert advisors engaged, and meetings held to discuss a wide range of fisheries management issues where stakeholders were increasingly open to the integration of traditional knowledge with science-based evidence.

In particular, the AAROMs are viewed as leading to improved stakeholder relations which is leading to more proactive and positive dialogue among stakeholders and overall less conflict over resources and rights.

FACILITATION OF CONSULTATIONS AT THE WATERSHED OR ECOSYSTEM LEVEL

Officials from DFO, other federal departments, and provinces and territories noted the benefits of consultations at the watershed or ecosystem level, including being able to build capacity, expertise and understanding of the science, and DFO being able to consult in an efficient manner with representatives of a relatively large number of Aboriginal groups.  All interviewees confirmed that the support from AFS and AAROM have enhanced the ability of Aboriginal groups to improve fisheries management at a watershed level.  The programs have helped bring Aboriginal groups together for meetings, discussions and working groups related to fish habitat, and recently with regard to aquaculture issues, for example through the FN Advisory Aquaculture Panel.

EFFECTIVE POLICY GUIDANCE

All lines of evidence noted the importance and the effectiveness of SG subcomponent, and in particular the FAP group.

Policies, frameworks, standards, and tools are in place and being used, but some require updating and there are gaps.

Documents, interviews and case studies demonstrated that there are in place frameworks, guidelines and templates that are in use by DFO staff.  However, it was noted that there are gaps and some policy direction is dated – particularly in relation to FSC allocations.  DFO requires additional, ongoing operational policy work in order to ensure a consistent national approach that is aligned with recent Court decisions.  A few OGD officials noted that DFO’s policy work has high potential value but since DFO has limited resources, the progress has been slow.

The case studies and the interviews noted that operational policy work was required to update the Policy on the Management of Aboriginal Fishing; guidelines and tools to support treaty negotiations; treaty mandates; treaty-like arrangements; and a number of Aboriginal fishing policies, including licensing policies, operational guidelines for the management of Aboriginal Fishing, policies dealing with adjacency issues, policies regarding FSC, policies related to monitoring and reporting, policies regarding integrated FSC and commercial fisheries, and Aboriginal involvement in fisheries management.

The key issue regarding Strategies & Governance was the relatively low level of resources devoted to this work and the resultant slow pace of progress in providing needed advice and ensuring up-to-date policies, frameworks, guidelines and advice to meet expectations of DFO officers in regions and AANDC negotiators.

Most Interviews and cases studies noted that financial and performance reporting requirements from recipients of Contribution Agreements are complex from the perspective of some recipients, and merit examination to determine where these could be simplified or streamlined and still meet the requirements of the terms and conditions for these programs and the requirements of the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments and the Financial Administration Act.

ABORIGINAL ACCESS TO COMMERCIAL FISHERY

Documents, interviews and case studies confirmed that where an Aboriginal group has the necessary capacity, the commercial fishery can provide an important economic opportunity for Aboriginal coastal communities.

Documents, interviews and case studies confirmed the importance of the AFS Allocation Transfer Program (ATP) which was created in 1994.  The ATP supports DFO’s priority for resource sustainability since it does not add to the existing pressure on the resource.  Commercial fisheries access is acquired through a voluntary relinquishment process where commercial vessel owners and licence eligibility holders are offered the opportunity to permanently relinquish licences and/or quota in exchange for a payment.  Once there has been a voluntary relinquishment of licence or quota, DFO re-issues an equivalent communal commercial fishing capacity to Aboriginal groups.

The documentation and database review did not confirm a specific number of ATP licences.

Interviewees confirmed that key beneficiaries had been able to access some licences through ATP (although fewer than they would have liked), and all interviewees who discussed ATP, expressed positive views of the ATP program.  When there was an ongoing commercial fishery, all interviewees confirmed that the commercial fishery brought income and jobs to the community.  Interviewees located in Atlantic coastal communities noted that the support from the ATP program under AFS, increased the community commercial licences that had been acquired through the Marshall Response Initiative (which ended in 2007).

A few Aboriginal interviewees noted that the allocations were often negotiated a long time ago and with the passing of time there may be insufficient fish available for harvest; or that additional licences or quota would be welcome.   A few interviewees noted, with regret, that the ATP program had quite limited resources compared to potential demand, and that additional resources for ATP would be beneficial in terms of economic development. Interviews and case studies identified several fully operational Aboriginal commercial fishing enterprises.

ABORIGINAL PARTICIPATION

The DFO RPP notes that there are 134 AFS Agreements in place18 and 36 AAROM agreements in place19 and that there are 105 Aboriginal groups active in the communal commercial fisheries.20  All lines of evidence used for the evaluation identified examples of Aboriginal groups that were active participants in fisheries activities, formal fisheries management decision making and information sharing structures and processes aimed at the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries, aquatic and oceans resources.  Decision-making fora discussed during interviews included such topics as fish habitat management and stock assessment.

In all cases, the views of the Aboriginal beneficiaries on their participation were positive.  Aboriginal officials and community leaders were most pleased to have input into the discussion of fisheries issues.  The Guardian program was cited as a key mechanism for ensuring Aboriginal participation in fisheries management since it provided an enforcement presence in the community, and allowed for increased training and capacity development at the community level.  Having Guardians in the communities served as a deterrent and created more respect for the rules that may be put into place by the Aboriginal communities themselves to regulate FSC fishing.

A key result of the improved Aboriginal participation in fisheries management is that it has helped to build an ongoing relationship with DFO on fisheries issues.  Most Aboriginal officials noted that they were satisfied with the level of involvement and participation in administrative issues, but are also interested in a greater role in fisheries management, including greater participation in the setting of allocations and quotas.

WELL-MANAGED FISHERY

Based on the lines of inquiry conducted for this evaluation, FSC fisheries appear to be efficiently managed21. Evidence identified examples of Aboriginal groups that were considered to be managing the FSC fisheries efficiently, issuing published regulations for the harvest of FSC and for the regulation of FSC fishing, and hiring Guardians, to provide deterrence for potential lack of adherence to these regulations.  It should be noted that not every Aboriginal group has Guardians and evaluators were informed that many of the Guardians hired by Aboriginal Groups are not designated under the Fisheries Act.

The issues related to FSC fishery that were raised by participants in this evaluation were focused on the lack of fish available for harvest by Aboriginal communities as FSC.  Another issue raised was that the FSC allocation was negotiated many years ago, and in need of review to account for population growth in the community over the years, in the view of most Aboriginal interviewees who discussed this issue.  In addition, some Aboriginal interviewees noted some challenges in having Guardians enforce fish allocation when most Aboriginals believe they have an Aboriginal right to fish.

Another issue related to the FSC fishery that came up in a few interviews was the desire by some Aboriginal groups (those which are participating in a commercial fishery), to have an integrated approach to the FSC fishery and commercial fishery, in order to improve the efficiency of the actual Aboriginal fishing operations.  It should be noted that the evaluation team did not collect data on the views of non-Aboriginal, commercial fishing representatives on the issue of an integrated FSC and Commercial fishery.  There was evidence collected during the evaluation that this is an area where DFO’s operational policy group is working to assess the complex and potentially conflicting issues involved.


18 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/2011-12/SO1/so-rs-1.3.1-eng.html

19 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/2011-12/SO1/so-rs-1.3.2-eng.html

20 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/2011-12/SO1/so-rs-1.3-eng.html

21 From time to time, there are allegations in the media regarding lack of respect or enforcement regarding FSC, particularly near urban areas.  For example, during the Cohen commission commercial fishermen and DFO C&P officers testified particularly about allegations regarding FNs potentially illegally selling FSC fish. Allegations were made regarding fishers on the Musqueam reserve where Gail Sparrow alleged that she witnessed that Aboriginal fishermen in her own community were not providing the FSC catch to their community but rather selling it off-reserve.  See for example: The Globe & Mail.  Former B.C. chief says sockeye was stolen from her band.  May. 20 2011.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/former-bc-chief-says-sockeye-was-stolen-from-her-band/article4263070/.  See also:  No proof of illegal salmon sales by Natives, but feds believe they're guilty.  Fisheries authorities don’t have proof of the alleged illegal sale of salmon by aboriginal fishers. “Coultish and Nelson testified that fisheries authorities hold the belief that most of the stocks in cold storage were intended for sale in the commercial market but there was no evidence to back this up.”  http://www.straight.com/news/no-proof-illegal-salmon-sales-natives-feds-believe-theyre-guilty.  Please note, the evaluators did not conduct any specific investigations of any specific allegations of misuse of AFS fish.  Overall, the qualitative evidence of this evaluation indicated that the FSC fishery is well-managed.  As with other areas of enforcement, there may be instances of possible non-compliance, and in particular, when potential monetary gain can be achieved.  This evaluation found that the ASG programs have increased the level of enforcement, and in particular, increased the presence of enforcement activity in communities through the Guardian program that is supported by AFS.

INVOLVEMENT OF ABORIGINAL GROUPS IN MANAGEMENT OF FISHERIES RESOURCES

Evidence from this evaluation indicates that a significant number of Aboriginal groups are involved in the management of fisheries, often in aggregate groups, supported by the AAROM sub-component of ASG.  The precise proportion of Aboriginal groups involved in these aggregates, and using a common, sustainable and integrated resource management framework could not be determined during this study.  It was clear from the documentation, interviews, and case studies that a significant number of Aboriginal groups are involved in fisheries management issues.

Almost all interviewees felt involved in the discussion of fisheries issues and the management of aspects of fisheries issues.  A few of the interviewees from Aboriginal organizations expressed an interest in greater involvement, such as co-management of fisheries issues.

All interviewees have seen improvement in the management of fisheries resources over the past five years, and they noted that this has been part of a continuous process of improvement over the lives of these sub-programs.  The ASG program has been successful in building relationships with Aboriginal groups and communities to achieve this improvement.

POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION TO MODERN TREATY AND CLAIMS NEGOTIATIONS OR ARRANGEMENTS

Beneficiaries were generally positive in considering the contribution of ASG to modern treaty arrangements; however, there has been very limited progress in this regard since 2008.  Based on interviews, there has been no significant negotiation of fisheries chapters since 2008. Negotiation of modern treaties is very complex and with regard to BC fisheries, negotiations were put on hold pending the results of the Cohen Commission, and then pending the results of a review of current negotiations by AANDC to identify the negotiations with highest potential for progress. Some FN have decided to pursue litigation rather than negotiations.  The Court has rendered numerous decisions on matters which impact fisheries issues.  The agreements that are put into place under AFS, essentially create a type of baseline for eventual treaty or treaty-like negotiations.  Based on documents, interviews and case studies, DFO’s ASG program makes a positive contribution to modern treaty and claims negotiations.  There is evidence of highly relevant and high quality technical expert work related to the renewal of negotiating mandates and the renewal and updating of operational Aboriginal fishing policies, guidelines and tools.  For example, work is planned with regard to issues related to policies and guidelines related to inherent rights, the duty to consult, challenges in providing FSC for some species and areas, aquaculture, commercial access, co-management, aggregation, and adjacency.

The evaluation did not obtain information related to the number of negotiations where ASG has made a positive contribution to the negotiation of claims or treaties; at an early point in the data collections, it became clear that this information would not be available, or that the number would be low, given that fisheries issues were not being negotiated, apart from rare exceptions, over the period under study in the evaluation.

BENEFITS TO ABORIGINAL GROUPS FROM FISHERIES OPPORTUNITIES

The evaluation did not determine an exact value of the benefits to Aboriginal groups from fisheries opportunities derived under the programs.

Qualitative evidence was collected indicating that some Aboriginal groups had been supported by the program for commercial fisheries opportunities, and that these had delivered benefits to communities including incomes and jobs.

There was extensive qualitative evidence that ASG has contributed to self-sufficiency and economic well-being of many Aboriginal groups, for example through creating jobs in the fishery, and the improvement in the quality of life in the community that comes from higher incomes and additional jobs.

4.3 PERFORMANCE (DEMONSTRATION OF EFFICIENCY & ECONOMY)


The evidence from the documents reviews, interviews, and case studies indicates that the program operates within set budgets. Documents related to past conflicts and tensions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal fishers, indicate that the program is providing value in terms of an increase in stability and a decrease in the potential for disruptive conflicts.  All interviewees confirmed that the program and sub-components have been effective in building a stronger relationship between DFO and Aboriginal communities.

With regard to the issues of economy and efficiency, beneficiaries noted that the proposal and reporting process is working; however, most recipients made suggestions to improve the efficiency of proposal and claims processes from their perspective including a simplified proposal process and more timely approval of both.  Interviews suggested that potential reasons for some of the reported delays could include a number of factors in addition to due diligence, such as lack of resources, need for training of DFO staff and recipients, need for updated operational policies or processing tools, unsatisfactory reporting from recipients, or unsatisfactory  proposals from recipients.

Most interviewees noted that ASG resources were limited and had not been increased in many years.

Most interviewees asked that DFO simplify and clarify the reporting process. While it was noted by one interviewee that DFO introduced a common application template and reporting process, some interviewees (both DFO officials and FN) indicated that reporting requirements change too frequently and remain more complex than is likely necessary.Among those who have multi-year funding, there is a high level of satisfaction with this approach.  A few of the FNs consulted encouraged DFO to continue to use multi-year funding as it allows for longer-term planning and is more efficient.  Some FN further noted delays between proposal, approval and receipt of funding.  Some FN’s consulted indicated that this may be attributed to high levels of turnover within DFO.  High turnover or difficulty knowing who to contact for some issues regarding the programs was noted by the majority of Aboriginal interviewees.

Value to Canadians

The aboriginal programs provide significant benefits to Aboriginal communities including developing FSC fisheries management capacity, scientific knowledge and commercial fisheries capacity.  The value of Canada’s annual fishery is approximately $2.6 billion. The ASG program builds relationships and helps to mitigate conflicts which could be disruptive to Canada’s commercial and sports fishing industries.

Resources are managed in a careful manner demonstrating professional stewardship practices

Based on the interviews, documents and case studies, resources appear to be managed in an appropriate manner, demonstrating adequate professional stewardship practices.

Interviewees noted that plans, reports, and financial reports are carefully studied and any issues are reviewed with the recipients and confirmed.

From the perspective of the recipients, the process can be slow and payments are often delayed.  Interviews suggested that potential reasons for some of the reported delays could include a number of factors in addition to due diligence, such as lack of  resources, need for both DFO staff and recipient training, need for updated operational policies or processing tools, unsatisfactory reporting from recipients, or unsatisfactory work plans from recipients.

Adherence to policy priorities, requirements and initiatives

Based on interviews, there appears to be satisfactory adherence to policy priorities, requirements and initiatives.

A few interviews noted that a number of DFO policies related to Aboriginal fishing issues have been in place for many years and may not reflect all the Court decisions that have been rendered over the past two decades.  Aboriginal and Treaty Rights issues have evolved considerably over time.

The operational policy component of ASG is implementing an important plan to produce the necessary updates to DFO policies, guidelines, tools and frameworks.  However, this is complex work that requires a relatively high level of unique expertise regarding Aboriginal law, culture, fisheries, and DFO structure, organization and policy.  The resources currently available for this work within DFO are rather limited and progress has been slow due to the complexity of the issues, the amount of work that must be done, and the limited amount of expert capacity and resources available.

Financial claims processing is working but there is evidence of delays in making some payments

In terms of the financial claims process a few FN interviewees noted that there can be delays between the submission of reports and actual payments.  In some of these cases the delays appear to be the result of follow up from DFO requiring more information related to final reporting.

A few FN interviewees did note that DFO has attempted to make changes and improvements to the reporting process over the years.  A recent improvement to the templates that are used was cited in a few interviews.

Some interviewees noted that there are a number of approval layers which may also be causing some delays.  All interviewees noted an opportunity for DFO to develop better guidelines and frameworks for operational fisheries matters.  Better guidelines and frameworks could reduce what is perceived by a few interviewees to be some subjectivity that can lead to inconsistent policy applications. A few FN interviewees indicated an interest in DFO delegating some decision-making authority related to fisheries that directly touch their community.  As one interviewee noted DFO may be able to find ways to “empower communities to do more”.

Several FN interviewees indicated an interest in having improved communications from DFO.  Another FN noted communications between and among other communities could be improved by using modern communications technologies.

SUMMARY FINDING REGARDING AFS EFFECTIVENESS

All lines of evidence indicate that the AFS contribution program is effective in providing support to Aboriginal groups for the:

  • Preparation of their fishing plans;
  • Administration, monitoring and enforcement of licences and agreements and reporting of fisheries catches; and,
  • Education and awareness activities with their membership and other beneficiaries.

According to interviews and case studies, the Allocation Transfer Program (ATP), which is part of the AFS sub-component of ASG, has been effective.  ATP has facilitated the voluntary retirement of commercial fishing licences and the issuance of communal licences to eligible Aboriginal communities in a manner that did not add to the existing pressure on the resource base.

SUMMARY FINDING REGARDING AAROM EFFECTIVENESS

Documents, interviews and case studies provided evidence that AAROM has been effective in improving participation at the watershed level for several aspects of fisheries management as noted below.

AAROM has developed the capacity of Aboriginal groups to more effectively participate in aquatic resource and oceans management multi-stake holder processes, at a broad watershed or ecosystem level.

AAROM has provided funding to qualifying Aboriginal groups to form aquatic resource and oceans management organizations.  These organizations have developed internal capacity or hired/contracted skilled and expert personnel to participate effectively in decision-making and advisory processes.

AAROM has enabled collaborative fisheries management.  Interviews and case studies that examined the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources and the First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia provide case-specific evidence that AAROM has improved information-sharing among and between Aboriginal groups, DFO and other interested parties.  It has also built trust and understanding among the participating stakeholders and has led to the increasing credibility of participating Aboriginal groups to be an equal partner in the discussions of fisheries management issues.

SUMMARY FINDING REGARDING SSC EFFECTIVENESS

The SSC contribution program is the vehicle for Canada and DFO to meet the treaty obligations respecting the SSC.

The evaluation case study found that SSC represents the public interest, including the FN interests, and the interests of the commercial and recreational fishery, and other public stakeholders.

SSC consults with the public and stakeholders and has an active communication and education program in the Yukon, in Whitehorse, and each of the three drainage areas. Based on interviews and document review, there is active stakeholder and public participation in SSC activities.

Based on interviews and documentation, with regard to salmon management in the Yukon, the SSC is an efficient and effective way for DFO to obtain input and gage the pulse of a cross-section of stakeholders, including FN, commercial fishers, and recreational fishers.

The SSC meetings and public consultations permit public communications and education regarding issues of salmon allocation, habitat and management issues in Yukon Territory.  A review of the SSC website (www.yssc.ca) indicates that meetings are held throughout the year in Whitehorse and in each of the three drainages.  Minutes of meetings are posted to the SSC website.

The SSC case study concluded that the salmon issues in the Yukon are complex and derive from the lack of Chinook salmon that are available for harvest.  In this environment, the SSC plays an important and active role in making recommendations to the Minister of DFO and in providing opportunities for public consultations, communications and education in relation to improving the salmon stock in the Yukon.

5.0 CONCLUSIONS


5.1 RELEVANCE (CONTINUED NEED)


Bearing in mind the qualitative evidence collected for this evaluation, based on the documents, interviews and case studies, this evidence confirms the continued relevance and performance of the ASG contribution program and its subcomponent programs, and concludes that these contribution programs are delivering value for Canadians.

This overall conclusion supports the continuation of AFS (including ATP), AAROM, and SSC. Based on all lines of evidence, the ASG program and its sub-components appear to continue to be relevant and needed by Canadians who rely on or participate in the fishery, in particular, Aboriginal groups and Aboriginal communities as well as commercial and recreational fishers in coastal communities.

ASG is well-aligned with Federal government roles and responsibilities as set out in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and DFO legislation and regulations.

ASG is well-aligned with Federal priorities for reconciliation with Aboriginal people, economic growth and improved quality of life.

The programs continue to be needed in order to:

  • Build greater capacity – research/technical and stakeholder engagement;
  • Maintain strong and stable relations with Aboriginal groups;
  • Support broader discussions and collaboration in the management of fisheries resources;
  • Develop greater social and economic capacity and independence;
  • Advise on treaty agreements; and
  • Introduce greater innovation in the management of fisheries resources.

5.2 EFFECTIVENESS (OUTCOMES)


The ASG program and its sub-components have been effective.

ASG has contributed to:

  • Stronger relationships with Aboriginal groups and improved Aboriginal engagement;
  • Increased Aboriginal capacity to manage their FSC fishery and to participate in fisheries management issues;
  • Improved capacity of Aboriginal groups to participate in the collaborative management of aquatic and ocean resources at the watershed or ecosystem level;
  • The development of policies, frameworks and guidelines which must be kept-up-to date on a continuous basis;
  • Aboriginal groups’ ability to gain access to commercial fishing licenses and quota, and the benefits that have been derived from this access;
  • Improved participation by Aboriginal groups in activities, decision-making, information sharing, structures and processes aimed at the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries, aquatic and oceans resources;
  • Efficient management of FSC fisheries; and
  • Satisfactory adherence by program to DFO policy priorities, requirements and initiatives.

5.3 EFFECTIVENESS (EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY)


ASG resources are limited and have not been increased in many years. Interview consultations, case study reviews and documents indicate that funding under the original AFS and AAROM agreements has not changed/increased since inception.

Budget data found that the program has operated within its budget.

The evaluation found evidence that the program is being administered in accordance with the program terms and conditions, TB Transfer Payments Policy (2008), and the Financial Administration Act.

The evaluation concludes that the program is operating with due regard to efficiency and economy22.

Issues noted in the evaluation include: 

  • Satisfaction with multi-year funding arrangements;
  • Delays between proposal and report submission and actual approval and receipt of funding; and
  • Opportunity for DFO to develop better guidelines and frameworks for operational fisheries matters.

22 Analysis of individual program administrative costs could not be conducted due to consolidated financial reporting of O&M and Salary for Aboriginal A-Base and G&C programming

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS


1.  The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should review its Performance Measurement Strategy for the ASG Program and its three sub-programs and enhance the ongoing performance data collection to support evaluation of outcomes encapsulated in the program logic model.

Having outcome data available specific to ASG and its subprograms would be useful for future evaluations and performance reports, and be of use to demonstrate the value of this program and sub programs. In addition, ongoing performance measurement data could also be used for continuous program improvement.

2.  The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should accelerate its planned operational policy work.

The Aboriginal fishing policies, frameworks and guidelines that are in place are dated. The SG operational policy unit has identified gaps and has a plan in place to address these gaps, but implementation of the plan has been very slow due to resource constraints.  Policy work which is not completed in a timely manner creates a significant risk that DFO may not deliver a consistent, national approach to Aboriginal fisheries issues that is consistent with Court decisions.

3.  The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should review the application and reporting process to reduce any unnecessary complexity or misunderstanding among aboriginal applicants.

Almost all Aboriginal interviewees expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of the proposal or reporting processes.  DFO should identify the most common sources of error and/or irritant, and to ensure that forms and instructions are clear.  Making available more training for Aboriginal groups who prepare proposals or complete reports, may reduce the level of frustration expressed by Aboriginal interviewees with regard to the time it takes to review and approve proposals and reports.

Annex A: Evaluation Evidence Matrix

PART 1:  KEY EVALUATION QUESTIONS

Key Evaluation Questions

RELEVANCE

Issue #1:  Continued Need for Program
Assessment of the extent to which the program and its sub-programs continue to address a demonstrable need and are responsive to the needs of Canadians.

Key Question:
•  Do the program and sub-programs continue to address demonstrable needs of stakeholders and the needs of Canadians?

Issue #2:  Alignment with Government Priorities
Assessment of the linkages between program objectives and
(i)   federal government priorities and
(ii)  departmental strategic outcomes.

Key Question:
•  Are the program and subprograms aligned with the federal government’s stated priorities and the strategic outcomes of DFO?

Issue #3:  Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities
Assessment of the role and responsibilities for the federal government in delivering the program.

Key Question:
•  Are the program and sub-programs aligned with federal roles and responsibilities?

PERFORMANCE

Issue #4:  Achievement of Expected Outcomes
Assessment of progress toward expected outcomes (including immediate and intermediate outcomes).

Key Questions:
What progress has been observed with regard to:
(i)   achievement of the expected outcomes, and in particular, involvement of Aboriginal communities in management of fisheries resources;
(ii)  positive contribution to modern treaty and claims negotiations or arrangements; and
(iii)  benefits to Aboriginal groups and communities from fisheries opportunities?

Issue #5:  Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy
Assessment of resource utilization in relation to the production of outputs and progress toward expected outcomes.

Key Question:
•  Have the program and sub-programs demonstrated that they operate in an efficient manner and in a manner which delivers value to stakeholders and Canadians?

PART 2: ISSUES MATRIX WITH INDICATORS, DATA SOURCES, AND METHODOLOGIES

Issues Matrix with Indicators, Data Sources, and Methodologies
Evaluation Issue Evaluation Question Indicators Data Source Data collection Method
Relevance
Issue 1:
Continued need for the program

Does the program address a continued need?

  1. Are Aboriginal groups and communities adequately involved in the management of fisheries issues?
  2. Do Aboriginal groups continue to require support to develop capacity to effectively participate in treaty and claims negotiations?
  3. Are there available potential fisheries opportunities for Aboriginal groups and communities which could provide a contribution to self-sufficiency and economic well-being in Aboriginal communities?

Number of Aboriginal groups involved in management of fisheries issues

Number of ongoing treaty and claims negotiations that involve fisheries issues

Number (and estimate of value if available) of identified potential fisheries opportunities which could make a contribution to self-sufficiency and economic well-being in Aboriginal Communities

Documents

Views of Stakeholders and government officials

Document review Interviews

Issue #2: Alignment with Government Priorities Are the program and subprograms aligned with the federal government’s stated priorities and the strategic outcomes of DFO?

Level of alignment between ASG’s directions and priorities and the federal government’s and Department’s stated priorities

Contents of Documentation and Views of government officials on alignment with Federal priorities and DFO strategic outcomes

Documents Stakeholders Document review Interviews
Issue #3: Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities Are the program and sub-programs aligned with federal roles and responsibilities?

Level of alignment between ASG’s directions and priorities and federal roles and responsibilities

Contents of Documentation

Views of government officials on alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

Documents [note: throughout this matrix, “documents” will include all performance reports or data sets produced by DFO in implementation of the ASG Performance Measurement Strategy]

Stakeholders

Document review

Interviews

Performance
Issue #4:  Achievement of outcomes: 
Assessment of progress toward expected outcomes (including direct and intermediate outcomes)
Direct outcomes        
Aboriginal engagement To what extent are Aboriginal groups engaged in a formal relationship involving governance, management structures, and processes with set parameters for the period of the agreement or in the treaty?

Number (proportion if available) of Aboriginal groups engaged in a formal relationship involving governance, management structures, and processes with set parameters for the period of the agreement or in the treaty

Number of inactive or non-engaged Aboriginal groups that would benefit from this type of engagement

Documents

Views of beneficiaries and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Aboriginal capacity To what extent are Aboriginals groups developing the capacity to manage their FSC fisheries?

Number of Aboriginal groups actively developing the capacity to manage their FSC fisheries

Views of key beneficiaries regarding their capacity to participate in negotiations and collaborative management of aquatic and ocean resources at a watershed or ecosystem level

Number of inactive Aboriginal groups

Documents

Views of beneficiaries and government officials

Case studies

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

To what extent are Aboriginal groups developing the capacity to participate in the collaborative management of aquatic and ocean resources at the watershed or ecosystem level? Number of Aboriginal groups developing the capacity to participate in the collaborative management of aquatic and ocean resources at the watershed or ecosystem level

Documents

Views of beneficiaries and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Effective policy guidance To what extent are policy direction, standards, advice and tools available and accessed by DFO staff and OGDs  

Documents

Interviews with government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Aboriginal access to commercial fishery To what extent do Aboriginal groups access commercial fishing licenses and quota?

Number of Aboriginal groups with commercial fishing licenses and quotas

Views of key beneficiaries on their ability to access commercial fishing licenses and quotas

Documents

Views of beneficiaries and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

To what extent do Aboriginal groups operate commercial fishing enterprises that are fully operational

Number of fully operational Aboriginal commercial fishing enterprises

Documents

Interviews

Documents review

Interviews

Case Studies

Intermediate outcomes        
Aboriginal participation

To what extent do Aboriginal groups participate in activities, decision-making, information sharing, structures and processes aimed at the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries, aquatic and oceans resources?

Number of Aboriginal groups that participate in activities, decision-making, information sharing, structures and processes aimed at the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries, aquatic and oceans resources

Views of key beneficiaries on their participation in activities, decision-making, information sharing, structures and processes aimed at the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries, aquatic and oceans resources

Documents

Views of beneficiaries and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Well-managed FSC fishery

To what extent are FSC fisheries efficiently managed?

Proportion of Aboriginal Communities considered to be managing FSC fisheries efficiently

Documents

Views of beneficiaries and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Adherence to policy priorities, requirements and initiatives

To what extent do program staff adhere to departmental policy priorities, requirements and initiatives?

Degree of adherence to policy priorities, requirements and initiatives

Documents

Management representation

Audit reports

Interviews with DFO officials and key stakeholders

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Ultimate Outcomes        

Involvement of Aboriginal communities in management of fisheries resources

To what extent are Aboriginal groups and communities involved in the management of fisheries resources using a common, sustainable and integrated resource management framework?

Proportion of Aboriginal groups and communities involved in the management of fisheries resources using a common, sustainable and integrated resource management framework

Extent to which Aboriginal groups and communities feel involved in the management of fisheries resources

Extent to which Aboriginal groups see improvements in the management of fisheries resources.

Documents

Views of beneficiaries  and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Positive contribution to modern treaty and claims negotiations or arrangements To what extent does the ASG Program contribute positively to modern treaty or treaty arrangements and claims negotiations?

Views of beneficiaries  on the extent to which ASG has  contributed positively to modern treaty or treaty arrangements and claims negotiations

Number of negotiations where ASG has made a positive contribution to the negotiation of claims or treaties

Documents

Views of government officials, Aboriginal groups

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Benefits to Aboriginal groups and communities from fisheries opportunities

To what extent do Aboriginal groups and communities benefit from fisheries opportunities contributing to the self-sufficiency and economic well-being of Aboriginal communities?

Estimated value of benefits to Aboriginal groups or communities from fisheries opportunities

Extent to which the ASG has contributed to self-sufficiency and economic well-being of Aboriginal communities

Extent to which Aboriginal Groups and communities perceive benefits from fisheries opportunities

Documents

Views of beneficiaries  and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

Case studies

Cost effectiveness / Value for Money

Issue #5:  Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy      
Assessment of resource utilization in relation to the production of outputs and progress toward expected outcomes.

Have the program and sub-programs demonstrated that they operate in an efficient manner and in a manner which delivers value to stakeholders and Canadians?

Is there evidence that the program operates in an efficient manner?
Is there evidence that the benefits of the program and each subprogram outweigh the costs?
Considering the outputs of the program and each subprogram, has the program delivered value to stakeholders?

Beneficiaries confirm efficiency of application and claims process.

Program and sub-programs operate within budget limitations (Budgeted versus actual resources).

Contribution programs are delivered in accordance with TB policy and legislation.

Budgets and expenditure reports

Reports from contribution recipients

Views of beneficiaries
Views of DFO officials
Views of OGD officials

Review of financial documentation

Interviews and focus groups

 

Considering the outcomes delivered by the program and each subprogram, has the program delivered value to Canadians?

Comparison of the estimated value of results achieved compared to costs

Documents

Views of beneficiaries and government officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

 

Are resources managed in a careful manner demonstrating professional stewardship practices

Views of program staff and beneficiaries on management practices in the program and sub program

Budget documents
Interviews with DFO officials

Documents Review

Interviews and focus groups

ANNEX B: MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN


Management Action Plan
Recommendation

Rationale: Having outcome data available specific to ASG and its subprograms would be useful for future evaluations and performance reports, and be of use to demonstrate the value of this program and subprograms. In addition, ongoing performance measurement data could also be used for continuous improvement because it provides regular snapshots of results.

Recommendation 1: The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should review its Performance Measurement Strategy for the ASG Program and its three sub-programs and enhance the ongoing performance data collection to support evaluation of outcomes encapsulated in the program logic model.

Strategy
Develop an effective Performance Measurement Strategy that is reflective of the ASG program and ensure appropriate data measurement and continuous improvement.
Management Actions Due Date (by end of month) Status Update: Completed / On Target  / Reason for Change in Due Date Output
Update Logic Model March 2014    
Build, maintain and update a Performance Measurement Strategy which establishes a framework to describe and measure the performance of ASG programs. December 2014    

Document Program changes and communicate to recipients.

March 2015

   

Update the Aboriginal Programs and Governance Information System (APGIS) to ensure data collection and report generation capabilities.

April 2015

   

Host training sessions involving National, Regional Headquarters and Area staff across all DFO management regions on various topics including, the management of contribution agreements; standard reporting requirements, ongoing procedural aspects related to the negotiation of agreements and use of the APGIS.

September 2015

   
Recommendation

Rationale: The Aboriginal fishing policies, frameworks and guidelines that are in place are dated. The SG operational policy unit has identified gaps and has a plan in place to address these gaps, but implementation of the plan has been very slow due to resource constraints.  Policy work which is not completed in a timely manner creates a significant risk that DFO may not deliver a consistent, national approach to Aboriginal fisheries issues that is consistent with Court decisions.

Recommendation 2: The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should accelerate its planned operational policy work. 

Strategy

Prioritization of policy work requirements utilizing a risk-based approach for determining a targeted work plan that takes into account resource constraints and builds in a buffer for the reality of redirection and the completion of other required obligations.  This will allow for a focused concentration of S&G policy work in a timely fashion that is of high quality and operationally useful.

Management Actions Due Date (by end of month) Status Update:  Completed / On Target  / Revised Date and Reason for Change Output
Complete a snapshot of the current situation (resources, policies, etc.) April 2014    
Determine current and looming demands. (E-scan) June 2014    
Determine the assessment criteria for priortizing. September 2014    
Determine chronological list of policy areas to be targeted. April 2015    
Complete the risk-based analysis of the policy work requirements/demands. June 2015    
Create work plan to complete targeted areas with contingencies built in. October 2015    
Monitor progress with established protocol/Adjust plan as required. April 2016    
Recommendation

Rationale: Almost all Aboriginal interviewees expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of the application or claims processes. DFO should identify the most common sources of error and/or irritant, and to ensure that forms and instructions are clear with regard to these most common sources of error.  Making available more training for Aboriginal officials who make applications or who prepare claims, may reduce the level of dissatisfaction expressed by Aboriginal interviewees with regard to the time it takes to review and approve applications, reports, and claims.

Recommendation 3: The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Fisheries Management, should review the application and reporting process to reduce any unnecessary complexity or misunderstanding among aboriginal applicants.

Strategy
Ensure current program application processes are revised accordingly with a built-in review mechanism that allows for more effective and nationally consistent improvements with the application and claims processes.
Management Actions Due Date (by end of month) Status Update:  Completed / On Target  / Revised Date and Reason for Change Output
Evaluate the current application & reporting processes. – Look at internal process/service standards to see where streamlining is possible. July 2014    

Complete a survey, or through some other means, determine the improvements suggested/necessary to make the processes less complex/cumbersome for the applicants/recipients.

Incorporate the changes/improvements that are workable while ensuring all program requirements from TB are being met.

September 2014    
Develop External Guidance for program recipients i.e. User Guides and Handbooks. December 2014    
Develop Service Level Agreements with Regions to ensure national consistency and effective delivery of programs December 2014    
Communicate DFO requirements and guidance material to recipients. April 2015    
Establish and implement annual mechanism for obtaining feedback from recipients on DFO program and service delivery. April 2016